The Hollywood Reporter – saying goodbye was hard

It’s always tough to say goodbye to someone with whom you’ve had a long relationship, especially if it’s been good. Often, one party is usually ready to walk away, while the other clings for dear life.

It happened when I tried to say goodbye to my online subscription with The Hollywood Reporter. We had a great relationship for a long time. People change, however. I was no longer signing in often enough to make the $19.95 monthly fee worth it.  So I fought back the tears (not really) as I called the subscriber service department to say goodbye. I assured them it wasn’t them. It was me. I just needed to move on, so cancel my subscription and wish me well, no hard feelings. Unfortunately, THR wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  Read the entire sordid tale after the jump.

THR clung to me for all I’m worth, or at least, for $19.95 a month. For three months I tried to pry their fingers from my wallet.  My repeated pleas to let me go were ignored. It was more drama than my first divorce:

  • Jul 4 2008: Charged $19.95. 
  • Jul 7 2008: Call to cancel subscription. Speak with Julie. She agrees to not only cancel my subscription but also credit me for the Jul 4 charge.  Julie seems very nice.
  • Aug 6 2008: Charged $19.95.  No credit for July. Hmm. 
  • Aug 21 2008: Call back, speak with Mark.  My subscription hadn’t been cancelled after all.  Julie doesn’t seem so nice. He apologizes, he can’t do anything about July’s charge, but he’ll cancel the subscription and give me a credit for August. He warns I’ll be charged for September as it’s so late in the month. He’ll call me back with a solution for September’s credit.
  • Sep 6 2008:  Charged $19.95.  No credit for August.  Mark hasn’t called me back. I don’t have time for these games.
  • Sep 9 2008:  Call back, speak with Mark.  Mark doesn’t remember me.  Refresh his memory from my notes, tell him I now have three charges I want credited.  Mark confirms my subscription has been cancelled.  I ask why am I then still being charged?  Mark says he’ll have to check and call me back tomorrow. Uh-huh. 
  • Sep 10 2008:  It’s tomorrow.  Mark doesn’t call back. I am too through with THR and him.
  • Sep 11 2008: I call yet again, and guess who answers the phone?  Julie! I review my detailed notes with her, tell her this is my last phone call. My next steps are to write letters to Publisher Eric Mika and Managing Editor Scott McKim, and to blog about this outrageous treatment. 

I don’t know which did it – name dropping or mentioning the B-word.  Julie says “I’m going to take this to the payment office right now to have Jul, Aug and Sep credited for you. I’ll be right back, please hold.” Less than 5 minutes later, she returns to tell me it was done and she would fax me proof of the credit. Lo and behold!  Thanks, Julie!

Ah, THR, It was an unnecessarily long and messy breakup, but at least it’s a happy ending.  I’ll still visit you, at least the free sections of your site.  You and I are still friends.  I can’t say the same, however, for Mark.


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